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And close the sermon as beseem'd his wit,


With some grave sentence out of Holy Writ.
Oft would he say, 'Who builds his house on sands,
Pricks his blind horse across the fallow lands;
Or lets his wife abroad with pilgrims roam,
Deserves a fool's cap and long ears, at home. 350
All this avail'd not, for whoe'er he be
That tells my faults, I hate him mortally;
And so do numbers more, I'll boldly say,
Men, women, clergy, regular and lay.

My spouse (who was, you know, to learning



A certain treatise oft at ev'ning read,
Where divers authors (whom the devil confound
For all their lies) were in one volume bound:
Valerius whole, and of St. Jerome part;
Crysippus, and Tertullian, Ovid's Art,
Solomon's Proverbs, Eloisa's Loves,


And many more than sure the Church approves.
More legions were there here of wicked wives
Than good in all the Bible and Saints' Lives.
Who drew the lion vanquish'd? 'Twas a man ; 365
But could we women write as scholars can,
Men should stand mark'd with far more wickedness
Than all the sons of Adam could redress.
Love seldom haunts the breast where learning lies,
And Venus sets ere Mercury can rise.
Those play the scholars, who can't play the men,
And use that weapon, which they have-their pen;

When old, and past the relish of delight,
Then down they sit, and in their dotage write,
That not one woman keeps her marriage-vow. 375
(This by the way, but to my purpose now.)
It chanc'd my husband, on a winter's night,
Read in this book aloud with strange delight,
How the first female (as the Scriptures show)
Brought her own spouse, and all his race, to woe;
How Sampson fell; and he, whom Dejanire 381
Wrapp'd in th' envenom'd shirt, and set on fire;
How curs'd Eriphyle her lord betray'd,
And the dire ambush Clytemnestra laid;


But what most pleas'd him was the Cretan dame,
And husband-bull-Oh, monstrous! fye,[for shame!
He had by heart the whole detail of woe
Xantippe made her good man undergo;
How oft she scolded in a day he knew ;
How many piss-pots on the sage she threw; 390.
Who took it patiently, and wip'd his head,
'Rain follows thunder,' that was all he said.
He read how Arius to his friend complain'd,
A fatal tree was growing in his land,

On which three wives successively had twin'd 395
A sliding noose, and waver'd in the wind.

'Where grows this plant (reply'd the friend) oh! • where ?

For better fruit did never orchard bear; 'Give me some slip of this most blissful tree, 'And in my garden planted shall it be.'


Then how two wives their lords' destruction


Through hatred one, and one through too much

That, for her husband mix'd a poisʼnous draught,
And this, for lust, an am'rous philtre bought ;
The nimble juice soon seiz'd his giddy head, 405
Frantic at night, and in the morning dead.

How some with swords their sleeping lords have


And some have hammer'd nails into their brain;
And some have drench'd them with a deadly potion:
All this he read, and read with great devotion. 410
Long time I heard, and swell'd, and blush'd, and

But when no end of these vile tales I found,
When still he read, and laugh'd, and read again,
And half the night was thus consum'd in vain,
Provok'd to vengeance, three large leaves I tore,
And with one buffet fell'd him on the floor. 416
With that my husband in a fury rose,

And down he settled me with hearty blows.
I groan'd, and lay extended on my side:

• Oh! thou hast slain me for my wealth,' I cry'd,
Yet I forgive thee-take my last embrace- 421
He wept, kind soul! and stoop'd to kiss my
I took him such a box as turn'd him blue,
Then sigh'd and cry'd, Adieu, my dear, adieu!
But after many a hearty struggle past
I condescended to be pleas'd at last,


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Soon as he said, My mistress and my wife!
Do what you list the term of all your life,’
I took to heart the merits of the cause,
And stood content to rule by wholesome laws ; 430
Receiv'd the reins of absolute command,


With all the government of house and land,
And empire o'er his tongue and o'er his hand.
As for the volume that revil'd the dames,
'Twas torn to fragments, and condemn'd to flames.
Now Heav'n on all my husbands gone, bestow
Pleasures above, for tortures felt below;
That rest they wish'd for, grant them in the grave,
And bless those souls my conduct help'd to save.


[Translated in the year 1703.]

The Argument.

EDIPUS king of Thebes having, by mistake, slain his father Laius, and married his mother Jocasta, put out his own eyes, and resigned his realm to his sons Eteocles and Polynices. Being neglected by them, he makes his prayer to the fury Tisiphone, to sow debate betwixt the brothers. They agree at last to reign singly, each a year by turns, and the first lot is obtained by Eteocles. Jupiter, in a council of the gods, declares his resolution of punishing the Thebans, and Argives also, by means of a marriage betwixt Polynices, and one of the daugh ters of Adrastus king of Argos. Juno opposes, but to no effect: and Mercury is sent on a message to the shades, to the ghost of Laius, who is to appear to Eteocles, and provoke him to break the agreement. Polynices in the mean time, departs from Thebes by night, is overtaken by a storm, and arrives at Argos, where he meets with Tydeus who had fled from Calydon, having killed his brother. Adrastus entertains them, having received an oracle from Apollo shat his daughters should be married to a boar and a lion, which he understands to be meant of these strangers, by whom the hides of these beasts were worn, and who arrived at the time when he kept an annual feast in honor of that God. The rise of this solemnity. He relates to his guests the loves of Phoebus and Psamathe, and the story of Chorcbus: he enquires, and is made acquainted with their descent and quality; the sacrifice is renewed, and the Book concludes with a hymn to Apollo. The translator hopes he need not apologise for his choice of this picce, which was made almost in his childhood; but, finding the version better than he expected, he gave it some correc tion a few years afterwards,

FRATERNAL rage, the guilty Thebes' alarms,
Th' alternate reign, destroy'd by impious arms,

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